You might be getting older, but that doesn't mean you have to slow down. Yet, your body might think otherwise, sending you messages in the forms of aches and pains that you didn't have to battle during your earlier adult years.
By all means, those aches and pains shouldn't be telling you to stop exercising altogether. Staying fit and active is important for your overall health and longevity, but now that you're older, you may have to apply some new thinking to how you keep fit.
Older adults should always check with their doctors before beginning a new type of workout. This is especially important if you've been inactive for several months, want to try a more vigorous routine or have medical conditions that could be affected by exercise.
Now that you're ready to go, let's look at some tips boomers should consider when working out.
5: Start Off Right
A workout can go south pretty quickly if you don't take the proper precautions. First, you should be hydrated before you work out. Hydration is especially important for older people because your body doesn't conserve water as well as it used to when you were younger [source: Mayo Clinic].
A proper warm up doesn't have to be difficult. It can be something as simple as walking for five to seven minutes to get the blood flowing to your muscles. Warm muscles are also more conducive to stretching.
Speaking of muscles, baby boomers should definitely work them out. Read on to find out why.
4: Flex Your Muscles
Think that strength training is only for big muscle men? Think again. As you age, you start losing muscle mass. And you lose muscle mass even more quickly once you hit 50. In fact, you can lose about a half pound of muscle mass every year [source: Heilman]. Strength training will combat this loss and can even help you add muscle. Strong muscles are important because they improve your mobility, which is a massive weapon against falls. Side benefits of strength training include improved brainpower and a reduced risk of diabetes and osteoporosis.
Ideally, you should do a strength-training workout at least once a week, using either weights or resistance bands. If strength training is new to you, it's better to work with a trainer or take a class with an instructor who can set up an appropriate program for your needs and show you how to perform the exercises properly.
Strength training is important, but it's not your only workout option. Read on to learn more.
3: Spice It Up
Variety is the spice of life -- and a successful exercise regimen. Regularly switching up your workout is beneficial to both your body and your mind. When you do the same workout over and over, you run the risk of overusing your joints. Your body also gets used to a certain routine, and you will eventually stop making progress.
Changing up your exercise program also keeps you interested in exercise. Since it's important to keep your body in shape, you don't want to get bored with your workout, because you're likely to stop doing it. When you feel like you're getting into an exercise rut, try some new classes like Zumba or yoga, and shake things up a little.
Having variety in your workouts also allows you to fit strength training, cardio and flexibility workouts into your schedule.
2: Go to the Pros
Like it or not, your body is changing, and you just may not be able to move like you did when you were in your 20s. Whether you're an elite athlete or someone taking up exercise for the first time, it's helpful to talk to professionals for sound help and advice. Certified trainers can help you design a schedule that's right for you. In classes such as yoga or Pilates, doing the exercises correctly is extremely important. A good teacher will help you learn how to position your body, and you'll avoid risking injury due to improper placement.
Professionals can also keep you motivated. Whether they're encouraging you to work out regularly or getting you to push your body to the next level, a trainer, teacher or coach can be a valuable asset to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Perhaps you're now motivated to get right to the gym, but there's one more workout tip you should know. Read on to find out what it is.
1: Know When to Say When
Maybe you're motivated to start a vigorous walking program, or maybe you're pumped up to run a marathon. Whatever you decide to do, it's important to give your body rest and allow your muscles and joints ample time for recovery. Muscles need time to recover after strength training workouts. Joints need time to rest after a tough cardio workout.
However, that doesn't mean you should stop moving. It's good to get some form of activity every day, even if it's simply walking around the block or incorporating a stretching routine.
Allowing your body to properly recover will lower your risk of injury and let you maintain an overall more active lifestyle. By listening to your body's needs, you'll be on your way to a healthier, longer life.
Lots More Information
- 5 False Stereotypes About Baby Boomers
- 10 Yoga Exercises for Seniors
- 10 Exercises for People With Arthritis
- Greider, Katharine. "The Real Fountain of Youth: Exercise." AARP Bulletin. Jan. 1, 2011. (May 31, 2011) http://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/info-01-2011/the_real_fountain_of_youth.1.html
- Heilman, Joan Rattner. "Strength Training: The right kind of exercise counters muscle loss as people age." AAPR Bulletin. March 15, 2011. (May 30, 2011) http://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/info-03-2011/strength-training-counters-muscle-loss.html
- Marchione, Marilynn. "Baby boomers fueling boom in knee, hip surgeries." The Connecticut Post. May 24, 2011. (May 31, 2011) http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Baby-boomers-fueling-boom-in-knee-hip-surgeries-1390864.php#page-2
- Mayo Clinic. "Dehydration: Risk factors." MayoClinic.com. Jan.7, 2011. (May 30, 2011) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=risk-factors
- Mayo Clinic. "Exercise: When to check with your doctor first." MayoClinic.com. Dec. 18, 2010. (May 31, 2011) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/SM00059
- Navratilova, Martina. "Walking: The Easiest Exercise." AARP. Sept. 29, 2010. (May 31, 2011) http://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/info-09-2010/martina_easiest_exercise_walking.html
- Pope, Elizabeth. "9 Best Exercise Tips for Boomers." AARP Bulletin. Jan. 1, 2011. (May 31, 2011) http://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/info-01-2011/exercise_tips_for_boomers.html